Our human capital management system has not appreciably changed for decades. This afternoon, I signed a Human Capital Strategy that charts an ambitious 10-year course for building a workforce to truly meet the demands of the 21st century. Without question, our fleet of ships and aircraft, and all of our operating communities, are only effective if the people inside them have the requisite training and skill to optimize them, and our Human Capital Strategy is an important guidepost to attain and sustain proficiency in every facet of our diverse response and support portfolio.
For the second straight year, I am celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday overseas. This year, I had the privilege of joining Coast Guard families and our allies from the United Kingdom Royal Navy for Thanksgiving dinner. Without question, we have many reasons to be thankful. As Coast Guard Commandant, I am incredibly thankful.
Coast Guard men and women, their families, friends and former members placed the flags Saturday, during the Flags Across America event, an annual observance where volunteers come out to honor the fallen ahead of Veterans Day.
The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic. Membership includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States.
Cartels and gangs throughout Central and South America, as well as Mexico, continue to promote fear, violence, corruption and death as they devastate natural resources and exploit citizens and institutions to move drugs, children and weapons for profit. Americans see the symptoms of these nefarious networks when children flock to our borders to escape violence and the U.S. consumer demand for drugs and the associated societal costs continues to rise.
I was privileged to meet many of those first responders whose heroic feats were featured in Paratus 14:50, and I saw first-hand the raw emotions still evident from the historic number of lives saved and the unforgettable tragedy of lives lost during Katrina. While our objective was to save everyone by any and all means, 1,883 people perished and Katrina still conjures thoughts of loss and mourning – certainly not an event to celebrate.
The Coast Guard’s leadership role in Western Hemisphere security and prosperity is critical in the fight against transnational organized crime networks active in the Western Hemisphere as continually strained national security resources are stretched across the globe.
“Joshua James began his life-saving career at 15 and saved more than 600 lives,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. “What better namesake for a ship and crew that will serve our Nation with pride for the next half century saving lives, stopping smugglers, maintaining safety and security in the Arctic and wherever national objectives may require.”
The Coast Guard continues to celebrate the legacy of its formative services and the heroism of those who served. Our missions may have changed over the years, but one thing has remained constant: the selfless service of each and every person that takes the oath to protect their country as part of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“What greater mission is there than saving lives?” This is exactly the thought Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer has when he thinks about the Coast Guard and why he decided to become a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.